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UN human rights official optimistic about China's rights progress

(Xinhua)

16:06, September 22, 2011

BEIJING, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- A human rights official with the United Nation on Wednesday said she was optimistic about China's progress with human rights records, which started with enormous economic achievements and would move forward with the full range of rights.

Jane Connors, chief of the UN's Special Procedures Branch at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on the sidelines of a Beijing human rights forum that she was amazed by China's economic development over the past decade.

She also said that rights, including civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights, are indivisible and that economic development can not be maintained without elements of civil and political rights.

The UN official noted that China has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has also been signed and ratifying it should be the next step, she said.

"I am optimistic, because what we are seeing is a development of the culture of human rights," she said. "Through dialogue, openness, and respect, we can move forward with the development of a full range of rights."

Connors said she was delighted to see that China's microblogs are developing as a new platform for free speech and expression as well as the fact that there are so many young people studying human rights in China.

"The more you learn, the more capacity there is for the improvement of human rights," she said.

The fourth Beijing Forum on Human Rights opened in Beijing on Wednesday with the focus on human dignity and the diversity of culture and values. Over 100 Chinese and foreign human rights experts attended the forum.

Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office of China, told participants that China has made significant progress on human rights with residents' living standards rising significantly, the number of people living in poverty greatly reduced, and the rule of law becoming a fundamental part of the society.

But he said China's human rights development still faces many challenges due to natural, historical, cultural and social-economic influences and the lofty task of allowing people to fully enjoy human rights remains arduous and persistent.

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